"The World and Japan" Database (Project Leader: TANAKA Akihiko)
Database of Japanese Politics and International Relations
National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies (GRIPS); Institute for Advanced Studies on Asia (IASA), The University of Tokyo

[Title] Speech by Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazawa at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED)

[Place] Rio de Janeiro
[Date] June 13, 1992
[Source] DIPLOMATIC BLUEBOOK 1992, Japan's Diplomatic Activities, pp. 406-409
[Full text]

Mr. Chairman, Mr. Secretary-General, Distinguished Delegates,

Let me first express my gratitude to the host country Brazil for the opportunity to speak before this distinguished audience.

Mr. Chairman,

The world is now at a major turning point. We are now searching for a new international order which values the well- being of each and every person; an order in which human dignity is fully respected by upholding the principles of freedom, democracy and sustainable development. We should aim at constructing a new era in which we all live as global citizens.

It is the most fundamental prerequisite of this "era of global citizenry" that environmental protection and sustainable development be achieved in tandem. The survival of our posterity is at stake; the question is whether we can act globally and now.

Mr. Chairman,

The Rio Declaration and other epoch-making agreements that have been reached on the frameworks of international cooperation in the field of the environment are a significant first step in our efforts toward sustainable development.

On the Framework Convention on Climate Change, all countries, especially developed countries, are called upon to fulfill their commitment faithfully. Japan will, following its Action Program to Arrest Global Warming, aim at stabilizing emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) by the year 2000 at about the 1990 level. The conservation of biological diversity is another important area of international cooperation. On the protection of the ozone layer, Japan will strive to front-load the commitment under the Treaty and the Protocol and accelerate its phase out of substances that deplete the ozone layer toward elimination in the year 1996. We will endeavor to translate into action the statement of principles on the conservation of forests; since we have undertaken the greening of our land through nationwide campaigns, we would like to make use of this experience for the promotion of global greening.

Traditional environmental problems linked with poverty in developing countries also require international cooperation as called for under the action program of Agenda 21.

But the process has just begun. What is important is actions which follow.

Mr. Chairman,

I am convinced that environment and development are not only compatible, but also mutually reinforcing in the long run. In the course of its rapid economic growth after the Second World War, Japan suffered a period of serious pollution, which generated tragic diseases such as Minamata disease caused by mercury poisoning and Yokkaichi asthma resulting from air pollution. It deeply grieved the Japanese people, who for millennia had lived in harmony with the order and rhythm of nature. This prompted the Japanese Government to enforce environmental regulations which are among the strictest in the world. The business community also worked hard on technological and other adjustments. As a result, Japan finally managed to transform itself into an energy and resources saving society and dramatically improved its environment. Today, the carbon dioxide (CO2) emission of Japan, which produces about 14 percent of world GNP, is less than 5 percent and its SOx emission is only 1 percent of the world total.

Mr. Chairman,

The prosperity Japan has achieved through the utilization of the resources of the earth makes its incumbent upon Japan to play a leading role in the international efforts for both environment and development.

Japanese socioeconomic size alone greatly affects the global environment, and I consider it one of our international responsibilities to see to it to create a Japan which is gentle to the earth. This is an important pillar of my policy to realize a decent society in which people enjoy true satisfaction. Specifically, we will further promote energy and resources' and continue to work for technological breakthroughs, the benefits of which we hope to share with the rest of the world.

Mr. Chairman,

Japan will support the efforts of other countries, especially developing countries, through existing bilateral and multilateral mechanisms. Self-help efforts on the part of developing countries are of primary importance to make such support truly effective.

In implementing Agenda 21, a useful role would be played by the International Development Association (IDA). Due consideration should be paid to this function by the IDA in the negotiations on the 10th replenishment of its resources.

With regard to the Global Environment Facility (GEF), an agreement has been reached on the continued major role it is to play, after necessary improvements, concerning financial contributions in the field of the global environment. Appropriate funds need to be secured, once a mechanism which ensures the effective and efficient use of the fund is established. Japan should consider a positive contribution to the Facility.

Mr. Chairman,

Japan is steadily expanding its Official Development Assistance (ODA), striving to make its net disbursement during the five years 1988-1992 exceed US$50 billion. In particular, in the area of environment, Japan announced, at the Arche Summit in 1989, its target of committing around ¥300 billion (US$2.3 billion) of environment-related aid during the three fiscal years 1989-1991. Actually, we have exceeded that goal by providing more that ¥400 billion (US$3.1 billion) within that time frame.

Sharing the ever-growing global awareness of the importance of preserving the world environment, which this Conference is doing so much to promote, Japan wishes to contribute to preserving the earth's forests, waters and atmosphere and to enhancing the capacity of developing countries to tackle environmental problems through the appropriate and well-planned implementation of its aid. To this end, Japan will expand its bilateral and multilateral ODA in the field of environment to around ¥900 billion to ¥1 trillion (US$7 to 1.1 billion) during the 5-year period starting from fiscal year 1992, which began this past April.

Partnership with developing countries is indispensable for the successful implementation of environment-related ODA. Japan will, therefore, do its utmost in the finding, formulation and implementation of effective projects through consultations with developing countries.

In addition to ODA, the private sector has a vital role to play by extending its cooperation in financial support, technology transfer and human resources development. Volunteer efforts through non-governmental organizations are also essential. The Japanese Government highly appreciates these activities and will continue to lend them active support.

Mr. Chairman,

Our joint endeavor to protect the global environment has just been launched. The real challenge is how we can translate our political will here in Rio into future actions to save the earth. However uphill the climb may be, we must move forward. Let us tackle this challenge with courage, guided by our shared sense of purpose as "global citizens".

Thank you very much.